Overtime: A Tor.Com Original (Laundry Files)
A Laundry Files Novel. Britain is under New Management. The disbanding of the Laundry - the British espionage agency that deals with supernatural threats, has culminated in the unthinkable - an elder god in residence in 10 Downing Street. But in true 'the enemy of my enemy' fashion, Mhari Murphy finds herself working with His Excellency Nylarlathotep on foreign policy - there are worse things, it seems, than an elder god in power, and they lie in deepest, darkest America.
Who knew an egomaniacal, malevolent deity would have a soft spot for international relations? Flowing text, Original pages. Web, Tablet, Phone, eReader. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
Book 2 in The Laundry Files. The "Laundry" is Britain's super-secret agency devoted to protecting the realm from the supernatural horrors that menace it. Now Bob Howard, Laundry agent, must travel to the quiet English countryside to deal with an outbreak of one of the worst horrors imaginable. For, as it turns out, unicorns are real. They're also ravenous killers from beyond spacetime Unfortunately these people prefer playing super-pranks instead of super-heroics.
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Overtime (Laundry Files, #) by Charles Stross
You've successfully reported this review. We call it the clubhouse in jest: I wait while Andy lights up. His fingers are shaking slightly, I see. Wears a suit, watches the world from behind a slightly sniffy air of academic amusement, as if nothing really matters very much. But his detachment is gone now, blown away like a shred of smoke on the wind. I look at his cigarette, for a moment wishing I smoked. As signs of the apocalypse go, the last office Christmas party ever is a bit of a red flag. Mike our calculations are wrong, and the window began to open nine months ago.
Use the weak anthropic principle: My appetite for nocturnal exploration is fading, tempered by the realization that I may not be the only one putting in some overtime in the office tonight. I reach for my ward—hung around my neck like an identity badge—and feel it. It tingles normally, and is cool. If it was hot or glowing or throbbing I could expect company.
Up to this point most folks have been ignoring him or listening with polite incomprehension. Suddenly, though, you could hear a mouse fart. Policies are originated, put on the table—and we descry their consequences. Kringle continues in this vein for some time. His voice is oddly soporific, and it takes me a while to figure out why: Kringle is clearly talking about something of considerable importance, but my mind skitters off the surface of his words like a wasp on a plate glass window. I shake my head and begin to look round, when the words flicker briefly into focus. I shake my head again, then take another mouthful from my paper cup of cheap plonk.
There will be no Laundry staff Christmas dinner next year. Indeed, attempts over the past year to investigate outcomes beyond this evening have met with abject failure: I duck inside and shut it behind me, then grab the spare wooden chair and prop it under the door handle. I plonk myself down behind the desk and unlock the drawer, then pull out the phone book. Rain rattles on the window above my head as I open it, an electric tingling in my fingertips reminding me that the wards on the cover are very much alive. Come on, where are you.
I run a shaky finger down the page. I pick up the telephone receiver and begin to laboriously spin the dial. The phone rings three times. The guy who spoke to us, from Forecasting Operations. Do you remember his name, and have you ever dealt with him before? Then I leaf through the phone book again. Kringle, or his lecture, or our conversation on the balcony. Like the famous mad philosopher said, when you stare into the void, the void stares also; but if you cast into the void, you get a type conversion error. Throwing scenarios into the void. What if there was a Forecasting Operations Department.
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Something so bad that they unintentionally edited themselves out of existence? I glance at the TV. Tonight, hundreds of millions of innocent children are calling Santa. I turn and stare at the aluminium duct-work that runs from floor to ceiling. I reach a hand towards it, then pull my fingers back in a hurry. Cold air is spilling off the pipe in chilly waves, and as I glance at the floor I see a thin mist.
Science fiction. Fantasy. The universe. And related subjects.
I left a nearly empty cup of tea on the desk when I went on my nocturnal ramble: The drops of ice crackle as they hit the floor, and my ward is suddenly a burning-hot weight at the base of my throat. Cold enough that the air is condensing on it. Cold enough that it sucks the heat out of a cup of tepid tea in milliseconds.
But what does it mean? What it means is. Lurker in Fireplaces, Bringer of Gifts. These things gain energy from belief. The summoning comes with an implicit ritual of banishment. Seventeen minutes to midnight. I bypass Mahogany Row and the sleeping ghosts of management to come, and head for the canteen. I turn the lights on, hunting around until I see it: I grab it and dig the boxes out, nearly laddering it in my haste.
The fridge is still humming.
I get it open and find what I was hoping for—a tray of leftovers, still covered in cling-film. I run for the staircase, clutching stocking, pin box, and the tray of stale mince pies. I pause briefly to review my plan. Get to the incinerator room without being stopped optionally: Draw the best containment grid I can manage around the whole mess, and hope to hell that it holds. What could possibly go wrong? I plant my tray on the floor, pull out my key ring, and unlock the door to the basement.